Active Learning for PreK-3 and Special Needs
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Ruths daughter with pigs

Our Mission:

At Primary Concepts, we believe the early years are a unique part of a child’s development. We focus on the essentials of the preschool and primary curriculum, emphasizing engaging, motivational, hands-on learning to build a foundation for academic success.   We translate educational research and best practices, as recommended by the Common Core State Standards Initiative, the International Reading Association, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, into developmentally appropriate learning materials that offer ease of use for teachers and effective outcomes for young children.

Our History:

25 years ago, a couple of like-minded Early Childhood Special Education teachers crossed paths in Vallejo, California. Ilsa Perse’s and Ruth Ingram’s students were often severely disabled, yet the performance levels of their students were so high that teachers from regular education classes began asking how they could get their students to learn the same skills that the special education students were learning. What was the trick?

Teachers who visited the classes all commented on the incredibly fun activities that were available--counting pigs and penguins, sorting three sizes of clowns, cars, and bugs, and learning phonics by sorting objects that represented short vowel words. How to get all the great stuff to teach these skills, and how to organize it all? When teachers were faced with the incredibly time-consuming prospect of making these activities themselves, they responded by asking Ruth and Ilsa to consider making and selling them, and Primary Concepts was born.

Just like the famous computer companies, it all started in a drafty, tiny, leaky, and inconvenient garage in Berkeley, California. But when teachers at schools for the gifted and for the learning delayed ordered the same things, Ilsa and Ruth knew that their dream of creating materials that could be used by all children was coming true. The hunt for all the special objects had been well worth the effort. Today, that philosophy of multisensory, active learning has moved into the mainstream, and we have evolved too. At Primary Concepts, we continue our mission to take the most important, constructive trends in curriculum and produce down-to-earth, creative classroom materials. We take the most current and worthy ideas and turn them into practical teaching tools for classroom teachers. We welcome you, and hope you enjoy our products.